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Comicbook Hellboy

Mez-Itz
by yo go re

For years, Mezco made their own brand of minifigures, Mez-Itz. The style was used for everything from licenses like Predator and Robocop to original properties like Monsters and Pirates, and the toys were really cool. Sadly, like many of the toys that were around five years ago, Mez-Itz quietly faded away. But since you can never say that Mezco are quitters, Mez-Itz are back, and they're starting with Hellboy.

The creation of artist/writer Mike Mignola, Hellboy is literally a demon conjured from Hell, brought to Earth by the Nazis in a bid to (what else?) control the world. The plan failed, of course, and the little demon was brought to the US where he was raised on an Army base and eventually joined the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, where he became their star agent, and proceeded to beat up pretty much every mythological creature you can imagine. Really, the character is probably the most famous "indy comics" creation around, so if you don't know who Hellboy is by now, well, why the heck not?

There have been Hellboy Mez-Itz before, but this is different. The old Mez-Itz were 3" tall plastic action figures, fairly well articulated and designed with full-sculpted head to make them unique. But that was then. The new Mez-Itz are, well... different. Instead of a plastic figure, this Mez-It is a designer vinyl toy.

Just like we said the BPRD Buddies are a rip-off of Hasbro's "Heroes-scale" toys, the new Mez-Itz are a rip-off of Hasbro's Mighty Muggs. And yes, we're using "rip-off" in the most enthusiastic, supportive way possible: it's clear the larger Mez-Itz are intended to remind you strongly of Mighty Muggs, and that's a good thing! The more similar the designs, the better the pieces will look next to each other. So don't think calling this a rip-off is somehow pejorative - other companies that want to get in on the vinyl toy game would be wise to hew this closely to the standard.

Looking at the figure, this is still obviously a Mez-It. Mezco didn't just buy a Mighty Mugg, take castings of it, and start molding their own toys. One of the things that set the 3" Mez-Itz apart from other block figures was the rounded design, and that has been translated beautifully to the vinyl toys style. The central torso is egg-shaped, and the head reflects that same aesthetic. The general shape is the same as the old toys, so this really does look like the Mez-Itz' big brother.

Hellboy stands 6" tall, and has more articulation than the Mighty Muggs. He moves at the shoulders and hips, like you'd expect, but since it's Hellboy, he's also got a swivel at the tail. Thanks to the Right Hand of Doom, there's a wrist joint - something very unusual for this style of toy. Setting Mez-Itz above their mass-market vinyl brethren, Hb gets a balljointed neck. The bar's been raised, Hasbro!

Rather than just a universal mold with details painted on, Hellboy gets some unique pieces. We already mentioned the tail, but he also has a full-sculpted right hand, which means that the entire arm has to be new (remember, the "hand" goes all the way up to the elbow). His horn-stumps are 3D elements molded onto the forehead, and though that doesn't seem like something that would ever be re-used, there's an upcoming Abe Sapien where those same deformations serve as his goggles. That's a bit brilliant!

This SDCC exclusive is based on the comic Hellboy, rather than the movie Hellboy, so the painted-on details do their best to duplicate Mike Mignola's artstyle. Honestly, looking at the two Hellboys, this one works better. After all, Mignola's art is designed to be two-dimensional, so with nothing more than some thick black lines, this figure takes on a real simulated depth. He's barechested beneath his tan trenchcoat, which is painted on his sides and down onto his legs. He's got his utility belt with the little rosary beads hanging off, and his feet are designed to look like hooves. At least, as much as is possible on a smooth, featureless leg. And unlike some exclusives we could name, Hellboy is painted on the back just as well as he is on the front.

Hellboy even includes an accessory: his favorite pistol, the Samaritan. It's been cute-ified, just like he has, and he can hold it in his left hand. The bottom of his right foot has painted-on copyright info for the character, while the left is molded with the Mez-Itz logo: a stylized M in the shape of the new head.

Mez-Itz Comicbook Hellboy is only the first of Mezco's new line. There are also the TЯU-exclusive movie Hellboy figures, and soon a set of Freddy and Jason done in this style, as well. If you like Mighty Muggs - and I know there are at least a few of you big fans out there reading this - the new Mez-Itz are right up your alley. Mezco has reinvented one of their old favorites, and they've done it very well.

-- 08/13/09


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